Lofty Goals

It’s important to set many different types and difficulties of goals while you’re striving to reach your dreams. If you set too many easy goals, you won’t get much of anywhere, but if you set too many difficult goals, you risk burning out or becoming discouraged. We recommend setting a spread of different goals, some small, some medium, and some lofty.

These lofty goals help define your biggest goals and dreams. You can approach these goals with many different strategies, several of which we’ll go over in this guide. Rather than taking on significant goals as they are, for example, it can sometimes be beneficial to break them down into smaller units to tackle over time.

In addition to different strategies you can use to tackle lofty goals, we hope to introduce you to some of the most rewarding examples of lofty goals, why they might be a good idea for you to set, and what they mean for you.

What Is a Lofty Goal?

Lofty or ambitious goals are large, life-defining dreams that may take several years, large amounts of money, or other significant investments to achieve. The difference between a typical goal and a lofty one thus boils down to the amount of effort that is required to achieve it.

A goal to work out three times per week, for example, isn’t particularly challenging to achieve. However, a goal of losing several hundred pounds and reshaping your entire body is significant and requires a considerable amount of dedication. The same goes for things like promotions, moving a long distance for a specific purpose, or starting a business, to name a few examples.


Lofty goals require some special care and diligence when setting them and carrying them out. It’s true that setting high goals inspires you to work harder at achieving them, but if you get too ambitious, they can also burn you out. The key with lofty goals is finding the line just behind too much and moving it forward ever so gradually.

For example, if having too much on your plate tends to stress you out, try adding to it a little at a time. Pushing your boundaries and comfort zone is great, but don’t take it too far that you burn yourself out or lose progress. The goal is that, by increasing how much you can handle bit my bit, you’ll end up much stronger over time.

However, if you thrive on intensity and hard work, try adding a bit more to your plate! Not having enough to do would probably make you bored, so it’s better that you start with a more ambitious load. However, keep the same rules in mind as before. Everyone has a limit, even if you thrive in that type of environment.

We recommend paying close attention to the SMART goal system as you explore your options. The SMART system helps you set more reasonable goals by setting guidelines for your goals to follow. It goes as follows:

  • Specific: your goal should be as well-defined as possible, avoiding vagueness.
  • Measurable: your goals should involve some sort of metric, such as money or time.
  • Achievable: your goals should be realistic to complete in the time you’ve allotted.
  • Relevant: your goal should align with your broader dreams and priorities.
  • Time-Bound: your goals should be defined by a time set to achieve them in.

Following the SMART system helps to reign you in when you’re getting too ambitious, and also helps you think about how your goal might tie in with other goals that you set. You should consult the SMART system whenever you set a goal, whether it be big or small, but it’s particularly useful for defining your highest, most important goals.


As we mentioned before, setting lofty goals requires a more careful approach than setting small goals does. Since they involve significantly more effort, time, and sometimes money, it’s best to plan out every aspect of what the goal involves before you begin.

There are several things you can do before you start chasing these goals that can streamline the process. We’ve gone over a few of these below.


After you’ve identified what your important goal is, the next step is to assess it, define it, and break it down. To do this, ask yourself plenty of questions about it. Consider some of the items we’ve listed below for examples.

  • How will achieving the goal impact your life?
  • What changes will you have to make to work towards this goal? What sacrifices will you need to make?
  • How much effort must you expend to achieve the goal? Are you willing to work that hard?
  • How will the goal affect your friends, family, or coworkers?
  • How much will this goal cost to achieve?

There are hundreds of questions you should be asking before you put your lofty goals into action. Don’t just limit yourself to the questions we listed above, although those are some of the most important. Asking such questions can help you identify or mitigate bumps you might encounter along the way before they happen, making your journey smoother and easier.

You should have defined your goal well when you put it through the SMART system before, but if it still needs paring down, see if you can break it into several steps or chunks. You’ll go more in-depth with this in the next section, but try to turn your big, vague goal into as many small, specific goals as possible. This will create a “map” of sorts that you will use to plan your pursuit of the goal.


As we mentioned above, the next step for you will be to plan out how you’ll approach these smaller goals. Try putting them in order chronologically, by order of importance, or by order of cost to help you create your road map.

Look at how the smaller goals you’ve made connect together. What will you need to do to get from point A to point B? Do you need a promotion or a raise? Are you looking to find a spouse within that time? Maybe you want to move to a different place at some point for a change of scenery?

An essential step to creating your map is to mark your milestones. Pick out places along the way – preferably spots that coincide with the smaller goals you’ve set – to be something like a checkpoint. These points mark how far you’ve come, and they play a significant role in maintaining the diligence and tenacity to keep moving forward.

Record as many of the things that you discovered in the last section onto your map as you can. If you have projected costs, make notes of those between points on your map. Add notes with explanations of what you’ll need to do between locations, in addition to how different aspects of the plan connect with each other.

Taking Action

Once you’ve made thorough plans for how you’re going to achieve your lofty goals, it’s time to finally take action! Of course, there will be things you need to watch out for while you’re executing your plan, too, so we’ve explained some of those below. However, as long as you’ve followed the steps we’ve outlined so far, you’ll be on the right track.


While you’re working towards your dreams, there will inevitably be times when sacrifices need to be made. You may need to sacrifice other things to further the pursuit of your dream, or you might need to sacrifice time working on the goal itself when things come up. One of the two will eventually be inevitable, and it will be up to you to choose which you’d rather have.

Depending on what your goals are, you’ll also have to prioritize certain goal-related things over others. If your goal involves saving a certain amount of money, for example, you may need to cut back on groceries or amenities to speed up the process. Alternatively, you might prioritize a promotion over an active social life to move you towards amassing those funds.

As you prioritize for your most ambitious goals, you may end up having to make some tough decisions. You may end up needing to prioritize work over family, for example, if you want that promotion right away. Spending extra hours at work might take precedence over searching for a mate or spending a night out with friends.


As you move along the road map you’ve created, the chances are that, eventually, you’ll need to rearrange pieces on your map, rewrite entries, or redo the whole thing entirely. Unexpected events will happen in your life that can cause you to have to reevaluate the timing and placement of certain things.

Think about if you have an unexpected child, for example. Even if your goal was to move up the ladder in your company, you might have to shelve that goal for the first portion of your child’s life or find different accommodations working from home.

Your road map can benefit from adaptations for other reasons, too. As times change, so must your plan. If several years in, you find that you’re short of your goal, you may need to go back through and change the roadmap. In the same way, if you find that you’re ahead of your own schedule, you should account for that in your revisions.

Consider these additional examples of why you might want to revise the map you’ve made:

  • Your dreams or priorities have changed
  • An unexpected opportunity came up that changes your long-term plans
  • New, emerging technology makes a significant difference in the time you’ve budgeted for certain activities
  • Family matters have come into play that affect your timeline
  • You have sustained an injury that affects the rest of your life
  • Your goals have changed to more closely align with those of your significant other

Keep Moving Forward

As you move forward on your chosen path, there will inevitably be things that come along and get in your way. Besides some of the ones we’ve already mentioned, such as sacrifices and priority changes, there will be hardships, lucky happenings, and strange occurrences, too. You will need to be disciplined and diligent as you move forward to not give up on your goal.

Lofty goals provide more of a challenge than most others because of their magnitude. They depend on so much more, and many more things may be at stake if you fail. However, lofty goals are an undeniably noble and appealing pursuit, until you think about how much effort is required to reach them. You will be discouraged by many things along the way, and there will be times that you want to give up.

This is why toeing the line between too much and too little is so important. You still need to be able to handle your lofty goals when the going gets tough, but the definition of a lofty goal is that you’re pushing your ability to achieve to its absolute limit. You need to be strong enough and disciplined enough to persevere when catastrophe strikes, but wise enough to know when things are too much for you.

That’s not all that you’ll need to be disciplined about, though. To achieve your biggest ambitions, you’ll need to be at your very best. Don’t make excuses or procrastinate. If you need to budget time or money, be consistent about it; don’t take breaks or cheat days.

If your goal is a college degree, forego some TV time in favor of more time to study. If you want to achieve success the way that the most successful people do, you’ll need to hold yourself accountable as they do.

No Excuses

When you set ambitious goals for yourself, you’re effectively cutting out less important things from your life in favor of working hard towards that goal. If you want to honor your road map and eventually reach your dreams, you cannot make excuses. The road will be unforgiving and difficult, but the rewards are numerous and significant.

Herein lies the fundamental difference between those who are successfully able to fulfill their loftiest goals and those who are not. The unsuccessful make excuses for their inability to get things done. Laziness, incompetence, fear, and chance can all get in the way of your goal, but you’ll only reach it if you push through these obstacles and keep going.

Do any of the below sound familiar to you? Here are some common excuses people make when they can’t or won’t work hard to achieve their goals:

  • “I didn’t have time.” If you don’t have time, then make
  • “I wasn’t good enough.” If you weren’t good enough, then make yourself better.
  • “I was too tired.” If tiredness is your limit, then you’ll never get it done.
  • “I made enough progress yesterday.” There’s no such thing as a day off from your lofty goals.
  • “Something unexpected got in the way.” Again, make time for your goals; things will always get in the way to try and stop you.

Accountability comes into play here, too. Typically, you’re the only one who’s accountable for achieving your goals, but if you want, you can change that. Find someone who wants to work with you on your journey, either by working alongside you or monitoring your progress. Make sure it’s both someone you can trust and someone who doesn’t mind helping you out.

When someone else is holding you accountable, in addition to being obligated to fulfill your own goals, you’re also bound to your promise to them. If you fail or back out, it affects them, too. Our human desire not to disappoint assists us here by helping us stay on track.


In the previous sections of this guide, we demonstrated some of the difficulties that come with setting lofty goals. They must be treated carefully if you hope to get the most out of them. However, they come with some surprising benefits, too. Setting ambitious goals tends to help us improve as people; when we set a goal that seems out of our reach, we’re inspired to work much harder to reach it.

As long as we don’t burn ourselves out along the way, setting goals that make us work just a bit harder and reach just a bit further turns us into better, more hardworking individuals. As a result of that, it’s always a good idea to set a lofty goal or two to guide our lives when we have the time and energy to do so.


When you set lofty goals, if you want any hope of achieving them, you will be forced to push yourself harder to reach those goals. Intrinsically, that’s one of the most significant benefits to setting lofty goals. Besides the way they drive your life forward to the places you’d most like to reach, they also push you to achieve things you might never have believed possible before.

It’s well-known that when you hang around people that expect more of themselves, you tend to do the same. Lofty goals replicate a similar effect on those who set them. If you set goals that are low and unchallenging, you will become lazy and unwilling to complete even those goals. If you challenge yourself to attain ambitious goals, you’ll gradually be able to reach further and further for success.

The same trend follows for other areas, too. If you hang around people who hate their jobs and complain all the time, you’ll eventually do the same. If you spend time with people who work hard to find success, you’ll end up doing that, as well. It follows that it’s essential to spend time with people who will support your lofty goals, and it’s even better if those friends set lofty goals for themselves.

Drawing this performance out of yourself isn’t easy. In the beginning, when you’re acclimating to the increased pressure that your ambition applies, it will feel almost like it’s too much. However, if you truly care about reaching your goal, you’ll break through the other side somehow and come out on top. This trial by fire is how you will end up improving yourself.


While pursuing your ambition, sometimes it will feel like there really is no more to be done when things get in your way. However, this is where another benefit of these goals comes into existence. When there are no obvious solutions to a problem, you’re forced to get creative. Lofty goals force you to become creative with your life, not just your work.

For example, what if a new, emerging technology comes onto the market that will significantly impact your future dreams? Perhaps you want to build a startup business that would be drastically benefited by that technology. How, then, will you make it so you can afford that technology and allow your business to flourish? What creative steps can you take to free up those finances to allow for further growth?

Many of us have dormant skills and passions buried inside of us that we don’t yet realize exist. These skills and ideas don’t surface easily, but you may discover one on your quest to overcome adversity. Just like how the protagonist in a superhero movie discovers their inner strength or superpower when they’re most in crisis, so can we.

Consider the idea of “stretch goals.” These goals are intentionally designed to tax the one who sets them, sometimes unreasonably. They’re meant to border on too challenging to complete. However, when we do achieve these stretch goals, the reward is all the more satisfying, and even if we don’t complete them, we’ll have done an admirable amount of work along the way.


When you finally reach your lofty goal, the progress you’ve made along the way won’t just go away. In addition to the reward of completing the dream you’ve held for so long, you’ll also have all the hard work, dedication, and growth that got you so far. You’ll often find that, at the end of it all, your own standards for excellence have been raised. You can forever expect more of yourself because of what you went through before.

However, bear in mind that this might raise the standards of what you expect of others, too. While it’s good for anyone to work hard towards a lofty goal and improve themselves, if your old friends who don’t go through the same process become targets of your higher standards, it can cause friction.

In the ideal situation, your success and higher expectations could inspire them to work harder, too, but sometimes, these expectations will put others on edge instead. No one likes to feel like they’re not good enough, and your success can make less-secure individuals feel that way. Keep this in mind as you interact with others, and be aware that your increased success will either intimidate or inspire those around you.

Another word that we would use to describe this section is “betterment.” Consider the following:

  • If your goal was to make $10,000 more over the course of one year, and you do it successfully, your goal for the next year will be to make $20,000 more. You already know you’re halfway there.
  • If your goal was to renovate your house and sell it for X amount, and you do that successfully, an ambitious goal would be to purchase another house, renovate it, and sell that one at a profit, too.
  • Things are a bit different when it comes to bodily health, but if your goal was to eat only one unhealthy snack per day, and you achieve it, you could improve on that by eating no unhealthy snacks at all!


When you set a goal that you find immensely attractive, you’ll be more inspired and motivated than ever to achieve it. Even if the going gets tough, the prospect of achieving something that you’ve dreamed about can work to keep you moving forward. The motivational value of an ambitious goal is an incredible tool, and it can be used to your advantage with things you truly want to achieve.

Think about your deepest-held dreams and desires. Some of them might seem far-off, but what if you could make one of them a reality in two years? One year? How hard would you be willing to work to make it come true in such a short timeframe? If you think about it this way, the attractiveness of lofty goals becomes immediately clear.

The motivational aspect doesn’t stick with only you, though! When you set an incredible goal for yourself and achieve it, those who’ve watched you work, struggle, and eventually succeed will be inspired to do the same. If your friend managed to earn an extra $1,000 this month from working online, wouldn’t you be envious? You’d probably want to try the same thing and see if you could do it, too.

In this way, by setting lofty goals, you slowly work to better those around you. Whether people realize it right away or just feel jealousy, this is a gift that can slowly but surely turn the world into a happier, more successful place.

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